So I recently saw Drive. It was about two weeks ago, but it’s easily going to be one of the biggest influences on my endeavors in writing and film for a long time. The sheer style and “cool” that dripped from every piece of this movie was mind boggling, so much flavour packed in every punch, so potent and fresh. The shots, the scenes, the characters, all so perfectly exhuming what they’re meant too… silent hero, cool villain, down on his luck sidekick, and a few more.
The movie uses simple characteristic to define their characters, create silhouettes that when they cast a shadow they can’t be mistaken – and I don’t mean that literally (although one scene in particular stands out). What I mean is their clothes are very distinct. The way all the characters speak and the words they use are all unique. Their values, their weapons of choice… They’re made clear for the audience, and they stand out as almost archetypes interacting on screen. They’re not complex, but it’s a part of what makes it so enjoyable. Reckless villain, calm and collected villain, silent hero, chatterbox sidekick. The sidekick is too trusting… he takes bad bets. The Hero drives, and keeps a low profile. The reckless villain does anything to get more money and hold his place of power, and it gets him in trouble. The calm and collected villain (Bernie, one of the standouts in this movie) carries a knife, a very elegant weapon, and like his knife, he works in very deliberate moves, never making a false swipe.
All the characters have personality, mostly because of what we aren’t shown. The movie isn’t very long, and ultimately there isn’t that much dialogue, so instead of illustrating what makes these people different in a bevy of interaction or words, only the meaningful, defining words and traits are shown. The Driver’s calculating ruthlessness when he is angry, his skill behind the wheel, or Bernie’s reluctance to kill his friend but never letting us doubt that he will do it, it’s all very easy to read, and it makes the story more of a fable or fairy tale than anything, and what makes it all so effective.
The movie is taught, it is well put together and carries the signature of a director with a distinct style – This is the first movie by Nicolas Winding-Refn that I’ve seen, but if it’s any indication, I can’t wait to see the rest. I would definitely recommend it, and if you plan on going let me know. I’d like to see it again.